The baby peregrine falcons nesting in downtown Salt Lake City are about a week away from taking their first flights and a group of dedicated volunteers plans on making sure they survive once they do.
Bob Walters is the watchable wildlife coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He’s been involved with the falcons in downtown Salt Lake City since the mid ‘80s and is once again gearing up for what he affectionately refers to as “hell week”, or the week in which the baby falcons take their first leap off of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
“I’m going to probably get serious Sunday," he says. "I’ll be here all day Sunday and all day light hours until the end.”
Walters joined a group of more than 20 people interested in the birds on Tuesday night to help give some basic training on what will need to be done once the birds start flying. Leanne Newling and Jon Everts have been volunteering for several years. They say they keep coming back because…
“It’s a falcon in the middle of the city," they yell out in unison.
"It’s a peregrine falcon," Everts continues. "It’s the fastest animal in the world. They’re one of my favorite birds. They’re one of the coolest birds out there.”
Everts says most of the time the job is pretty boring as you just sit and wait for something to happen, but once something does he says it’s always a memorable experience.
“One of the things I love about it is, helping the birds of course, but how many people do you know that can say, I held a peregrine falcon today, a baby peregrine falcon, and I saved it’s life. I’ve done something good for this bird and now it has a fighting chance,” he says.
Walters says they’re always looking for volunteers and will need as many as they can get starting next Monday.